Muslims For Nader/Camejo

A blog on the Nader/Camejo 2004 Presidential campaigen - exposing the racket of the two corporate parties - with a special focus on issues of concerns for Muslims. This blog is UNOFFICIAL and is NOT endorsed by the official Nader for 2004 presidential campaigen. Blog update daily and several times a day - come back often! Contact: muslimfornader@yahoo.com

Thursday, August 26, 2004

A Must Read for Muslims!!!

Arab-Americans and the US election
From Naseer Aruri in Dartmouth MA
August 26th, 2004 - MEI - Online

Terrific Article detailing what Muslims need to do if they are to become a powerful voice in US Politics. A must read before you vote:

August 26th, 2004 -- Arab-Americans seem confused, undecided, bewildered by the choices (or lack thereof) facing them in the forthcoming presidential elections. While George W. Bush has lost a good deal of the Arab and Muslim support that he mustered during his presidential campaign in 2000, much of that support seems now to be spontaneously re-channelled towards John Kerry, his Democratic challenger.
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Bush’s earlier backing from the Arab-American and Muslim community was largely based on domestic considerations, being only marginally driven by issues of foreign policy. Bush’s disregarded commitment to roll back facets of President Clinton’s anti-terrorist legislation, particularly the use of “secret evidence,” together with the fact that Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore chose a pro-Likud Zionist, Joseph Lieberman, as his running mate, constituted the deciding factor for Arab-Americans. They wanted to be “relevant”, but in opting for relevance and voting for the “lesser evil” they lost sight of the longer term.

Although Arab-Americans cannot bear responsibility for the nature of the US electoral system, one might well ask whether those who want to be “relevant” in the forthcoming elections have learnt anything from their error four years ago.

The Arab-American community needs a proactive strategic policy, not a reactive one, as is all too often the case. Voting for the “lesser evil” places the community at the mercy of both parties, who can only welcome support for their candidates that comes with no strings attached. For this reason, supporting Nader, whose platform is the only one that responds to Arab-American interests and positions on Palestine, Iraq, civil liberties and respect for international law, would not only be an act of conscience but an exercise in self-assertion, and the only demonstration of real electoral strength.

Far from being a “wasted” vote, it would constitute the necessary initial investment in a long and continuing process designed to keep all future candidates apprised of the actual worth of the Arab-American vote. Had we begun that process in 2000 or long before, we would not even be debating the issues of waste and relevance at this time, two months before elections are due.

The “lesser evil”?

However, should those in the Arab-American community who seek “relevance” decide to go all out for Kerry as the lesser evil, they must not expect President Kerry to remember that their votes in the four swing states were crucial. Bush certainly chose not to remember the community’s vote in Florida, which according to some estimates, handed him the presidency in 2002.

No president before Bush II has given Israel the kind of carte blanche his Administration has provided. And yet, those Arab-American voters and activists, ironically with significant representation from the ranks of the Palestinian national movement, seem to have quickly forgotten Bush’s betrayal as they now, four years later switch their bets to the Democratic candidate, hoping he will prove to be a kinder politician.

By voting to remove Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft, Arab-Americans will not guarantee protection of their civil liberties. One wonders if Kerry’s running mate, John Edwards, who helped review the Patriot Act, is likely to be more inclined, as vice president, to show due consideration for their civil liberties.

Leading figures in the Arab-American community shun Nader as the two principal candidates try to outbid each other in embracing Ariel Sharon’s policies and in trying to prove that their party is the genuine and principal war party.

On Palestine their rhetoric is almost indistinguishable. Kerry even tries to outdo Bush in his allegiance to Likud policy objectives, playing catch-up to Bush as he endorses Sharon’s broad violations of humanitarian and customary international law, including massacres, ethnic cleansing and assassinations, and denouncing the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion on the illegality of the Wall. As Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, put it, “there’s no significant gap” between Kerry’s position and President Bush’s support for Israel.

On Iraq, Kerry may admit that Bush rushed to war, but he will not declare the conflict a mistake from the beginning. And his presidential campaign assumed a very undemocratic position when it imposed a policy of no debate of the issue at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in July. Party bosses were able thereby to stifle grassroots demands that the Democrats describe the invasion of Iraq as a mistake and lay down a clear exit strategy for American forces.

Furthermore, Kerry’s rhetoric about building a multinational coalition and repairing international alliances, decorated with tough language about terrorism and national security, appears to diverge little from Bush’s concept of preventive intervention. Rather, the Democratic Party’s platform asserts: “With John Kerry as commander-in-chief, we will never wait for a green light from abroad when our safety is at stake.” Kerry is committed to the concept of American global hegemony, and so will not risk withdrawal from Iraq if it makes America look weak; His caution against a “hasty” withdrawal leaving chaos and disorder in Iraq would likely prove insincere.

In fact, the real difference between the two principal contenders for the presidency is more rhetorical than substantive. Bush, as the incumbent, initiates the discourse while Kerry tries to outbid him with endorsements.

But this lack of a real difference between Bush and Kerry is apparently not enough to conquer the “relevance” impulse of certain leaders in the Arab-American community. They are, in fact, “wasting” more votes by shunning Nader and failing to realize that the blame for a possible Republican victory is not to be laid at Nader’s and their own door-steps, but at those of John Kerry himself. For Kerry has failed to appeal to tens of millions of voters who oppose the war in Iraq and endorse foreign and domestic policies based on the rule of law, international cooperation, and social justice.

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